Santa lands early at G.T. Bray

The big guy and Mrs. Claus get helicopter ride to Bradenton park for A Night Before Christmas

jdeleon@bradenton.comDecember 8, 2013 

BRADENTON -- He sees you when you are sleeping. He see's you when you are awake. And if you missed him land at G.T. Bray, he'll be back for goodness sake.

The crowd cheered Saturday as it watched Santa approach in a helicopter, accompanied by Mrs. Claus of course. He circled the air above and the children grew with excitement.

Leahana Rutter, 6, was very anxious to see St. Nick, after watching him land in a helicopter in the baseball fields at G.T. Bray as part of the park's A Night Before Christmas event. She stood in line waiting to tell Santa her biggest Christmas wish, a tablet.

"My mommy says that he doesn't make them," Rutter said. "Grandma is mak

ing me jealous because she has an iPad, but she lets me use it."

Also on her wish list was a bigger bike.

"I need one, my other one is too small without the training wheels," Rutter said.

The annual Christmas event featured lots of family fun, including face painting, bounce houses, an inflatable slide, a trampoline power jump, hayrides, cookie crafts and much more.

In addition to Santa landing and visiting with children, another festive highlight was the 10 tons of fake snow for the children to play with. Mya Johnson had just come out of playing in the "snow."

"Well it was slip slippery, it felt like you were slipping on rocks," said Johnson, 6. "It felt like slipping on water on rocks."

Johnson didn't get to see Santa land but was anxious to go see him.

"I don't know if we are allowed to," Johnson said. "I want an American girl, I've been wanting one ever since I knew what they were."

Some children waiting in line, like Amanda Esparia, 7, and Andre Wehr, 8, were excited to play in the snow, because they had never seen it before.

"I wish, I'm going to see some soon," Wehr said.

Both children saw Santa's helicopter land on the field. Esparia was speechless from the excitement.

"I wanted him to jump out in a parachute," Wehr said.

After playing in the snow, a visit to Santa was next on the list for these two.

"I want to go see him," Esparia said.

She smiled at her mom when she said she hoped he's bringing her an iPod since she'd been a good girl.

Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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